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Mozart, Simpson, Beethoven: Tippett Quartet, Bromsgrove Concerts, The Artrix, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, 28.02.2014
... The Tippetts captured the (Simpson) 11th quartet's bracing contrasts of turbulence and calm to perfection. Especially memorable was the way in which they built up the tension in the overlapping rushing scales of the third movement, bringing the work to its main point of climax. The hushed ethereal final movement had superb concentration and focus from the players - the music simply vanished into thin air as intended by the composer. The appreciative Bromsgrove audience listened attentively in rapt silence.
Simpsons work was a perfect companion piece for Mozart and Beethoven. In the first of Mozarts great series of quartets dedicated to Haydn the Tippetts brought out the wit in the first movement and the exuberant counterpoint of the finale (a clear precursor to the finale of the Jupiter Symphony).
Beethovens Third Rasumovsky quartet, played after the interval, was on the same exalted level as the Simpson. Flowing tempi in all four movements were well chosen and fitted the music perfectly. The Tippett's playing of the second movement's Slavic tinged melody over throbbing pizzicato accompaniment was a high point of their interpretation. In Beethoven's brilliant finale the link was clearly made between Mozart's joyous fugal writing and Simpson's intense yet vigorous counterpoint - three great string quartet composers. .....complete review
Walton, Shostakovich, Elgar: Atrium Quartet, Nicolas Stavy (piano), Bromsgrove Concerts 50thAnniversary, The Artrix, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, 18.10.2013
... The Atrium String Quartet hail from St Petersburg and have played twice at Bromsgrove Concerts before. Pianist Nicolas Stavy is one of the rising stars of today in France. The programme began with Waltons String Quartet in A minor written in 1946-1947 and not to be confused with his early student work in the same key, which Walton later rejected. His mature Quartet is one of his finest works in any medium with a slow movement of profound beauty and eloquence.....complete review
Young Musicians Showcase, Friday 15 February 2013
Young Musicians Showcase was the most heartwarming concert my wife and I have attended for some time. I do hope that it will be possible to present a similar concert sometime in the not-too-distant future. We need to promote our young talent and this is one way of doing it.
Leon McCawley, Friday 16 November 2012
Thank you for your stunning performance last night in Bromsgrove....one of the best performances I have ever been to in 40 years of concert going.I loved your unprepossessing approach and all the fireworks. Where do you find your energy? I hope you continue to find your inspiration.
Thank YOU for your lovely e-mail and for taking the time to write to me. I am so glad you enjoyed the concert. Yes, it was a big programme and I needed a full day off after it! Several bananas before and during the interval help with the energy conservation!
The Amael Trio, Friday 18 November 2011
The Amael Trio from Slovenia finished their brief 3 concert tour of the south-west Midlands in Bromsgrove with a nicely varied programme of unfamiliar works and the favourite Archduke Trio. They started with two short Slovenian pieces. First the darkly lyrical Maestoso Lugubre (1935) by Skerjanc and then the more recent Something Wild for solo violin played with all the necessary virtuoso skills by Volodja Balzalorsky. More familiar and only slightly older was Oblivion by Piazzola which closed the first half. Then came the monumental Beethoven which was played with much bravura and a great sense of what each instrument was doing. Much applause led to an encore of a Glinka Elegy (I think). It certainly showed a further elegiac style with which to end their visit.
Most Recent Birmingham Post Reviews
Christopher Morley reviews Jenkinson-Frith Duo at Bromsgrove Artrix, March 4 2016, 5 stars
There is a remarkable empathy between cellist Richard Jenkinson and pianist Benjamin Frith. Despite minimal actual eye-contact between them, there is an awareness of body-language which brings a wonderful sense of oneness to their performances.
And this was nowhere more in evidence in their exhilarating recital for Bromsgrove Concerts than in the Cello Sonata of Benjamin Britten, and work written for himself ( a brilliant pianist ) and the Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. In this work both instruments declare their individual personalities, displaying all their trick-of-the-trade but ending in a gruff fusion of solidarity. Jenkinson and Frith were perfect protagonists.
They had begun with Saint-Saens' Fist Cello Sonata, Frith's pianism mercurial in this Mendelssohn-influenced piece, Jenkinson's playing generously responsive, full of nuance.
Respect in the first half, then utter life-enhancement after the interval, beginning with three pieces by Ian Venables all powerfully advocated by the Duo. It Rains opened in numb serenity, drawing long sustained pizzicato- punctuated lines from the cello; At Malvern created a genuine sense of landscape from the piano's gentle patternings (and what a desolate ending), and, best of all, was the incomparable Elegy. This aches with pain, wrenched from such telling melodic outlines, and moves towards a hauntingly unresolved ending. Only Elgar's Sospiri comes anywhere near this desperately personal anguish and the Duo, who have played Elegy so often (and thankfully recorded it), played it here with a first-time freshness.
After this, Beethoven's great A minor Sonata came almost as light relief. Eloquently fluent, structure unobtrusively delineated, and with brilliance from both partners, this masterpiece came up shiny and new. And, like the composer himself, none of us wanted to let go of the finale's main melody.
John Gough reviews Leon McCawley at Bromsgrove Artrix, October 3 2014, 5 stars
Bromsgrove Concerts’ new season opened with a visit from one of our foremost pianists, Leon McCawley, in a highly satisfying programme of the core classical repertoire.
McCawley is a mature and self-possessed artist‚ whose playing is an intriguing balance of delicacy, detail and drama, and although everything was carefully considered, a feeling of spontaneity permeated the evening..... complete review
John Gough reviews Bromsgrove Concerts 50th Anniversary, Atrium Quartet at Bromsgrove Artrix
For 50 years now, Bromsgrove Concerts have been organising vibrant and brilliantly-constructed programmes and this magnificent anniversary concert continued its high standards.
I was enormously impressed with the Atrium Quartet. Their ability to combine warmth, colour, and intensity with intellectual rigour, secure rhythm and a firm grasp of a works architecture made this a very exciting and appropriate event to mark such a celebration.... complete review
Leon McCawley at The Artrix, Bromsgrove, 5 star
This country is blessed with a generation of pianists who have moved seamlessly from young lionhood to wise experience, and right at the top of that list is Leon McCawley.......Read More
James Rutherford at The Artrix, Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove Concerts and the Housman Society combined on Friday evening for a son et lumiere evening devoted to the great local-boy poets A Shropshire Lad poetry-cycle......Read More
Coull string Quartet and Mark Bebbington at The Artrix, Bromsgrove
It isnt only football thats allowed to be a game of two halves. It can apply to concerts as well, and last Friday at Bromsgrove Concerts was certainly a case in point.....Read More
Quatuor Diotima, at The Artrix, Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove Concerts promoted a really enterprising programme last weekend, one which deserved to attract a larger audience of chamber-music aficionados.....Read More
Boult String Quartet, at The Artrix, Bromsgrove
Fridays offering from Bromsgrove Concerts was not quite what it said on the tin, with a change of leader for the excellent Boult Quartet, a change of pianist (the original one somehow finding himself double-booked), and therefore a change of programme....Read More
Brodowski Quartet, at The Artrix, Bromsgrove
It promised to be a fabulous programme from Bromsgrove Concerts: three intriguing 20th-century works for string quartet played by the immensely talented young Brodowski Quartet, and the performances were indeed wonderful....Read More
Leon McCawley, at The Artrix, Bromsgrove
Leon McCawley is an artist of great pianistic and interpretative gifts, and one of his attractive qualities is his unassuming manner. There was nothing in his body language to suggest the enormous technical difficulties of his programme but the results were riveting....Read More